I left early with the intention of riding to Georgia, after an amazing start it turned bad!
The main road to the boarder took a long loop so I decided to go straight over the mountain. My sat nav wasn’t impressed and didn’t recognise the route, my map did. It was about 50km over the mountain and it started great, I soon realised it was going to be hard as there weren’t any cars on the road and it quickly deteriorated into 90% dirt track. I didn’t mind as I had ‘Article Monkeys’ & ‘The Black Keys’ keeping me company. The 1 1/2 hours it took was great, again, high in the mountains only two cars and one van passed me. The track was mainly gravel and dirt with mud in places. I wish I had my XR400. Near the top there had been a mud slide down the mountain and a digger was clearing it. I waited with the workmen who gave me tea before I could pass. Add to this flocks of sheep, or were they goats? I loved it. When I was just about down the other side my bike started playing up, it spluttered for a while and then was ok.
I looked at the map when I thought I had ridden over the mountain and I had only covered half the distance I thought I had, it didn’t matter as a few locals came out to see what idiot had just crossed the mountain! We talked and drank tea.
It’s all about the people.
I continued to my destination and a very kind policeman gave me another speeding ticket. It started raining and he asked me if I would like to keep dry in the police station and drink tea with them. Usually I would have but maybe it’s just me but having just been given a fine it didn’t feel right to laugh and joke with them so I headed off in the rain with a speeding fine and my bike really started playing up.
For the next 50 – 100 miles the engine stopped and then started again constantly, there were no towns so I kept going hoping I wouldn’t break down in the middle of nowhere. The bike would be ok for a few miles and then spluttered for the next few. I eventually arrived in Ardahan still in Turkey and checked into a hotel. Relief.
The poor bike has been through so much, 6,000 miles, desert, mountains, roads full of pot holes and dirt tracks. It has been shaken to bits and is full of dust so I’m not leaving until it has had the overhaul it deserves.
Later I walked into the town to buy oil and a few other essential but I couldn’t find anything. If I wanted a tractor or kebab then the town was perfect. I could really do with a beer but guess what, no beer! Maybe a tractor wouldn’t be such a bad purchase!